Newfoundland, Vital Statistics (FamilySearch Historical Records)

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Canada Gotoarrow.png Newfoundland and Labrador

Access the Records
Newfoundland Vital Statistics, 1753-1893 .
This article describes a collection of records at
Newfoundland,  Canada
Canada flag.png
Flag of Canada
Location of Newfoundland, Canada
Record Description
Record Type Church Records
Collection years 1753-1893
Languages English
Title in the Language
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Newfoundland Vital Statistics Division

What is in this Collection?

This collection contains records dating from 1753 to 1893.

The records include images of church record transcripts. These records contain baptisms, marriages, and some burials from many churches in the province.

Burial records were not systematically gathered for this collection so only a very small number are found in the collection.

Civil registration started in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1891 and 1892. At that time, all clergy were required to register every baptism, marriage, and burial conducted within their jurisdiction. Prior to 1891, no central registry existed, so the only record of a baptism, marriage, or burial was the one held by the church.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Sir John Charles Puddester was disturbed that the original parish registers were in bad condition and some of the records had been lost in fires and other disasters. So, he initiated a program of transcribing the pre-1891 church records. Burial records were not requested, although some churches did submit them. The collection contains mostly Protestant records; only 6 of the 124 volumes are Roman Catholic records.

Civil registration did not exist in Newfoundland and Labrador until 1891 or 1892. The Newfoundland Registers of Vital Statics were created in order to gather birth and marriage information from churches for the time period before 1891.

These records are generally reliable, but not all churches and clergy responded to the request for records, so the collection is not complete. Also, because most of the records were handwritten and then copied, there may be transcription errors and mistakes in the spelling of some individuals’ names. It is important to check for alternate and similar spellings.

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Sample Images

Baptismal records may contain the following information:

  • Child's name
  • Names of parents
  • Date and place of birth
  • Gender of child
  • Date and place of baptism
  • Religious denomination of child
  • Father's occupation

Marriage records may contain the following information:

  • Name of groom and bride
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Age of bride and groom
  • Marital Status
  • Occupation
  • Religion Denomination
  • Residence
  • Names of witnesses
  • Officiator at marriage

Burial records may contain the following information:

  • Name of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Age, gender and occupation of deceased
  • Place of birth
  • Religious denomination
  • Burial information

How do I Search the Collection?

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page.

View Images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page.
Once you've reached the browse page, follow these instructions to get to the images:
⇒Select the appropriate "District/Municipality/Town"
⇒Select the appropriate "Church"
⇒Select the appropriate "Record Type and Years" which will take you to the images.

Important: The information in some of these records may not be complete.

Look at the images one by one, comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

As you are searching, it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

What do I do Next?

I Found Who I was Looking for, Now What?

When you have located a record for your ancestor, the following will help you further your research:

  • If you found a birth record, use the names of the parents to search for their marriage record in this collection.
  • Use the age to calculate the approximate year of birth. Then search for a birth record of the bride or groom.
  • Use the place of birth, and the calculated year of birth to search for a birth record.
  • The religious denomination named in this record will help you with your search in the church records.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, Now What?

  • Look for other spellings of the surname. Spelling wasn't standardized, meaning that different spellings of uncommon surnames were quite common.
  • Try looking in the Newfoundland, Vital Records collection or the Newfoundland Church Records collection for vital information about your ancestors that may help narrow down the search in this collection.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"Newfoundland, Vital Statistics, 1753-1893" Images. FamilySearch. accessed 2016. Citing Vital Statistics Division. Provincial Archives, St.John's.

Image Citation:

The image citation will be available once the collection is published.

Digital images of originals housed at various municipal archives throughout Newfoundland.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.